Low Back Contusion: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Contusion is the medical term for a bruise. When you have a low back bruise, it's often caused by a direct blow or an impact, such as falling against a counter or table. Bruises are common sports injuries.

Most people think of a bruise as a black-and-blue spot. This happens when small blood vessels get torn and leak blood under the skin. But bones, muscles, and organs can also get bruised. If these deep tissues are damaged, you may not always see a bruise.

The doctor will examine your bruise. You may also have tests to make sure you do not have a more serious injury, such as a broken bone or nerve damage. Tests may include X-rays or other imaging tests like a CT scan or MRI.

Low back bruises may cause pain and swelling. But if there is no serious damage, they will often get better with home treatment in several days to a few weeks.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Put ice or a cold pack on the sore area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time to stop swelling. Put a thin cloth between the ice pack and your skin.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • For the first day or two of pain, take it easy. But as soon as possible, get back to your normal daily life and activities.
  • Get gentle exercise, such as walking. Movement keeps your spine flexible and helps your muscles stay strong.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You are unable to move a leg at all.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse symptoms in your legs or buttocks. Symptoms may include:
    • Numbness or tingling.
    • Weakness.
    • Pain.
  • You lose bladder or bowel control.
  • You have blood in your urine.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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